excerpt from her lecture on “Hawthorne and ‘the sphere of ordinary womanhood’"
In this excerpt from her lecture on “Hawthorne and ‘the sphere of ordinary womanhood’"(BR-CE 3:190), Melinda M. Ponder explains that “[b]y The Blithedale Romance, Hawthorne's view of contemporary lives of women is indeed bleak….
By The Blithedale Romance, Hawthorne's view of contemporary lives of women is indeed bleak--no prophet has come, and there seems little hope for developing a surer ground of "mutual happiness" for relations between men and women. The streets, hotels, rooming houses, and town houses of Boston present an urban nightmare and its rural counterpart--sterile houses, tenements, poverty, the underside of shabby gentility, and artificial society--where women cannot find happiness with or without men in the ultimate "bond-slavery" of women to men. Hawthorne shows us too well the tragedy "that a woman of Zenobia's diversified capacity should have fancied herself irretrievably defeated on the broad battle-field of life, and with no refuge, save to fall on her own sword…." (CE 3: 241).